Tuesday, 21 April 2015

An Explanation

Two weeks ago something huge happened to my family, something that could undoubtedly change our close little unit forever. My Dad was diagnosed with Acute Meyloid Leukaemia in September, something I really hadn't heard of before. Now I feel I know it too well! He was such a healthy and active man so it was a big shock at the time, but he made it through almost four intense months of chemotherapy and got into remission for Christmas. We had four lovely, 'normal' months, leading to a wonderful Easter weekend on the 4th, then we were hit by the bombshell that the cancer had come back. Not only that, it had accumulated and pressed onto his spinal cord, causing paralysis from the mid chest down. Pretty crap really to say the least! Not to scare anyone, but all Dad had as a warning was a backache, which we put down to him overdoing it with the DIY or running with the dog, or the home exercises he's always been obsessed with doing. He lost the use of his legs within hours. 

I've been keeping a low profile, but then Mum said something like this to me: "If someone stumbled upon your blog, they'd think your life was pretty idyllic. It's good to show the reality too." Thanks for the words of wisdom Mum, I do think you're totally right. I feel extremely lucky to have the lifestyle that my family do, but everything was and can be turned upside down in the space of an afternoon. I stopped blogging over the last few weeks as I felt that talking about fashion, beauty and such superficial things was silly when my Dad is going through what he is. But I think I will start to post again, because I wouldn't want to let down the small following I've managed to gain over the last couple of years, and also because life goes on. It just has to.I never thought it would after my Nanny passed away last year, but actually your perspective on life just changes. You're allowed to enjoy Instagram, Tumblr and Youtube, but my words of advice are please don't jeopardise time with loved ones for social media. Take a break if you need and just be aware of how precious the real people around you are.

We're hopeful that with treatment Dad is going to be okay but while we're in this horrible limbo, I'm going to appreciate the little things - picking flowers from the garden, cuddling up to my dog, cooing over my best friend's new baby, baking, writing my YA novel, helping kids at school with their own issues. And that's how I'm going to get through the next few weeks or months.
I may post updates as we go along because I have had a lot to deal with in this past year and I am someone who has frequently searched the net for anyone in the same scenario. If any of you are going through something similar right now and have any questions or just want to talk then absolutely feel free to message me using my given email.

Love, Izzy

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

ASOS Wishlist: European Sightseeing Suitcase

1. Luxe Tshirt Dress with V Neck
2. Kiss The Sky Crop Top with Tassel Trim in Giraffe Print
3. Metal Box Cross Body Bag

ASOS are so on point for updating our summer wardrobes at the moment. I found it hard to narrow down my lengthy list of saved items, but here's a covetable mixture of city sight-seeing staples. Of course, when backpacking, you want to save room; this ethnic silver bag is simple but eyecatching enough to be teamed with all of your evening outfits. This silky khaki dress can be worn with espadrilles or these adorable scallop flats by day for museum wandering, or by night with heels and a jazzy necklace. My favourite piece, the Liberty-esque playsuit, would make a beautiful picture up le Tour Eiffel, and look ultra chic over a white bandeau bikini for sunbathing on the sand. This giraffe crop top is just the trusty sort of piece I like to have to throw on with denim shorts and a fedora. As for the elephant watch, telling the time is definitely a necessity for interrailing. Basically, ASOS has all you need for your holiday suitcase. I know I will be stocking up on key, versatile pieces like these over the next few months.

What's currently on your ASOS wishlist?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

A Three Course Easter Lunch

On Good Friday we held part one of our family Easter celebrations, with my Grandad, Auntie, Uncle, cousin and Matt coming over for a special lunch. My Auntie and Uncle also brought their pug Henry, so it was slightly chaotic with him, Gen and the two cats chasing each other around! Mum and I laid the table with a pretty paper tablecloth with polka dots on. The tablecloth and gorgeous napkins - which say 'What a Beautiful Day'- were from Sainsburies. We used our best vintage silver cutlery and glasses from Laura Ashley; we then put these tiny metallic shell vases at each place setting: these were a gift from Matt's Mum and are from a lovely homeware company called Cox & Cox. We picked the little flowers from the garden and a hedgerow near our house and arranged them in the vases and jug as a centrepiece. We also placed these chocolate bunnies - blue for the boys and pink for the girlies - and a compulsory bowl of mini eggs on the table! As a finishing touch to the room, we strung up this shabby chic, floral bunting that Mum bought on eBay. I loved it as it made our dining room ceiling look higher!

Mum drew up the three course menu using one of her country cookbooks and this is what she made: 

Asparagus wrapped in Parma ham, served with a dippy boiled egg

Roast lamb with all the trimmings - roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower cheese, peas, runner beans and stuffing 

Hot cross bun pudding with a rum and chocolate custard 

After our delicious lunch we broke the rules and had a seven player game of Monopoly! I always have to buy the dark blues - it's a slight addiction- and end up losing....what does that say about me?! I then brought out my hot cross cookies on Mum's Cath Kidston cake stand; I was so pleased with these! This was the recipe I followed and it made about 15 cookies:

250g plain flour 
100g white chocolate chips 
100g caster sugar 
200g softened, cubed butter 
100g raisins 
2tsp baking powder
1 egg 

1. Mix the butter, sugar and egg together - I used an electric whisk to ensure it was all smooth. 

2. Sift in the baking powder then flour, stirring with a wooden spoon to make an even dough. This takes about ten minutes to mix it all properly; you may have to use your hands to sculpt it into a firm dough. 

3. Add the chocolate chips and raisins then press the dough into small balls. You choose how many of the choc chips and raisins you squash into each cookie!

4. Put the cookie dough balls onto grease proof paper lined trays and flatten each slightly. Cook for twelve to fifteen minutes on gas mark 4 until browned. 

5. Leave to cool for a good hour before icing. I used three tubes of white chocolate, milk chocolate and caramel flavoured icing and just drew lines over the cookies to imitate the classic hot cross bun design! 

Today we are off to my Auntie's for another family roast and a walk by the seaside, weather depending! Tomorrow will be spent devouring Easter eggs no doubt... 

Wishing you all a very happy Easter! 

 Love, Izzy